The Words of the Stein Family
Colorado Workshop Report
October 26, 2005
If I could take you for a ride, we would fasten our seatbelts on a small cozy airplane, and I would pilot us west. As we cross our great country I would pilot us through the magnificent Rocky Mountains, over one ridge and around the next. I would point out how the most beautiful evergreens cover the mountainside, complimented with snow peaked mountain tops and a sky as clear as can be. As we travel, awed by the green trees, white peaks, and blue sky Ė I point out a small plateau like area between one ridge and the next. Itís this relatively flat area that a retreat center was created, called Estes Park. If I could take you into the park itself Ė I donít think you could ever forget the beauty which meets our eyes. The green mountainside is more beautiful than ever now with slight yellow tints from tree clusters only to be caused by some curious birds in years past. The mountain ranges seem to be endless in any direction your eyes wonder, and elk and wildlife can always be seen peacefully grazing within a few hundred feet. At 8,010 feet above sea level, this retreat center was one of President Rooseveltís favorite choices in conference locations for obvious reasons proving it to truly be one of the most beautiful locations in America. STF, acquiring the resort at least three times every year has been said to be the parks best customer. At one of the most beautiful locations in America, and a mile and half into the sky itís not uncommon for STFers to well Ė feel theyíre in heaven.
If it were our spring workshop I might tell you of the renewing life, ice cold stream runoffs and the livelihood of animals covering the landscape. If it were our Godís Day workshop, I might describe the cold winter breeze and snow covered mountainsides. But this time, it was the month of October. Fall was present, leaves were falling and the anticipation of snowfall was on the edge of everyoneís mind. The weather varied as brisk mornings were followed by warm afternoons and chilling nights, yet regardless of time one could immediately feel and almost taste the refreshingly crisp air that serenaded the atmosphere.
On the evening of October 19th, STF vans traversed from different parts of the country and made the windy Colorado drive to the park. As an STF member, or STF parent, one might enter the park in awe of its renewing beautiful views, but for STF staff Ė the feeling is much deeper. As STF staff enter the park they can still hear the echoes of STF members past and can see the bright hope for STF members to come. The echoes of past prayer and testimony are still welled up deep within the mountainís soul and the memory of countless transformational experiences of our blessed children whom in this place, we label so close to heaven, truly have met God. Surrounded by beautiful creation and supportive STF members and staff, itís truly the environment where blessed children can not only receive the word of God Ė but experience it.
STF was honored to have Rev. Joshua Cotter, vice president of FFWP USA, as our lecturer offering three day content about our True Parents coinciding with the theme of our workshop "Understanding the value of True Parents and True Family." Rev. Cotter conveyed much about the heart of God and the heart of True Parents for 2nd generation and the world. Besides Divine Principle content, Rev. Cotter openly shared his personal experiences and testimony of how he came to know the heart of True Parents. STF members could really connect to Rev. Cotterís youthful spirit and love for our True Parents. STF truly feels very fortunate to host such an inspiring man of faith.
The workshop also hosted Rev. In Soo Kim, director of 2nd generation education in the USA. During Rev. In Soo Kimís visit he offered morning service about Godís dream for the ideal family. Rev. In Soo Kim also led us in the song "Sarang Hae" which translated from Korean means "I love you." A phrase which seems to represent well Rev. In Soo Kimís character and heart towards 2nd generation.
The international director of STF, Mr. Aoki, also presented morning service speaking about what Hyun Jin Nim calls the "Cultural War". Mr. Aoki went on to speak about Hyun Jin Nimís heart, love, and hope towards STF members. Also explained was how STF is such a valuable time of education and training in our life as well as preparation for post STF life. Mr. Aoki concluded with some very exciting news where he announced a training program that Hyun Jin Nim wants to offer STF in Montana where STF members will visit parts of Hyun Jin Nimís new ranch and go through a rigorous, one week, outdoor challenge experience throughout different parts of the STF year.
The five day workshop also included an outdoor adventure day, where members could choose between three different levels of difficulty, and a Divine Principle lecture contest, where members competed in lecturing what they had learned during guided study Ė which, by the way, mastery of the "Red Part" is a major goal in this yearís class curriculum.
All STF parents were invited to attend and STF hosted a simultaneous parentís workshop regarding many important issues such as safety, health concerns and presented the parents with the upcoming goals of STF education. The workshop gave parents much clarification about the STF program. One parent, Mrs. Penny Frisk, whom I had the opportunity to share a short walk with stated:
"I was a little concerned at first, but being here and seeing the amazing transformation of the blessed children, I have gained great confidence and trust in the STF leadership and program."
As many parents have had very good experiences, I think their strongest testimony is what theyíve seen and heard from the STF members themselves. This year many STF members shared their hearts about what theyíve experienced in the past two months. Jacob McCarthy, from Downey California, couldnít hold back his tears as he conveyed his understanding of Godís heart (watch the video). Or Jenny Kwon, from Phoenix Arizona, shared about how she could experience deeper the situation of our True Parents (watch the video), and Jared Howard, from Detroit Michigan, who shared about the change in his relationship with True Parents because of the past two months of frontline training (watch the video). Itís these testimonies and the countless others not on tape that bring tears to parentís eyes as their children experience those things which parents have always wanted to offer Ė but many never knew how.
In my experience, STFís highest priority has been the safety and health of its members. STF leadership is constantly doing research on safety guidance, and consulting with health experts on various topics. This workshop over $3,200 of various vitamins and supplements have been distributed to captains. A supply that will last STF only until the end of December. STF also had the opportunity to invite two special guests, Mr. Bill Haire from New York and Dr. David Rueter from California to speak on various topics. Dr. David Rueter, a practicing podiatrist, spoke about proper foot and knee care. He also created a small office, setup appointments, gave free examinations, and delicately prepared over 25 moldings to be made into custom orthotics for members he diagnosed with "Flat Feet". STF was also grateful for the expertise of Mr. Bill Hair. Mr. Haire is the director of security in the New Yorker Hotel in New York City, and a personal bodyguard of our True Parents whenever they are in the area. Mr. Haire has great experience in security and shared very valuable and practical techniques about defense, but surprisingly stressed more importantly an awareness of your surroundings to stay safe. He spoke about how to avoid being a target, how to deal with difficult situations, and how to use our understanding of spirit world to our safety advantage. Mr. Haireís youthful and charismatic character offered a humorous yet informative presentation which many STF members could really connect to.
Throughout the STF year, workshops are held at various locations across the country, but three times a year STF gathers back to Estes Park for a quarterly gathering. As many of us know, there is something special about connecting to God through creation. Father stated in an early speech "To find God, you must know creation". When a walk to the dining hall is a scenic route, or a 12 minute individual prayer becomes an exploration of mountainous wildlife, we can understand how valuable these experiences are for our blessed children. When Divine Principle content is on the whiteboard, and white capped mountains, backed by bright blue skies are just out the lecture hall window, the environment is created where one can experience God. As this workshop closes, the mountainís echo grows stronger of members cries in prayer to our Heavenly Father of promises determined to keep Ė my echoes included.
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